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Padres Do Flip Over Win : San Diego Tops .500 and Giants With 7-4 Victory

Special to the Times

The Padres are ebullient. A few months ago, a .500 mark seemed a lofty goal. But after Monday’s 7-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants, the Padres are now actually a winning ballclub for the first time in more than two years, with a 68-67 record.

And some Padres can barely contain their excitement.

First baseman Keith Moreland, who gave the Padres a 1-0 lead with a second-inning home run, was so happy he turned a cartwheel in celebration on his way back to the dugout.

A spontaneous gesture. And one that Moreland later regretted. But a sure sign that the Padres, now just one game behind the Giants and threatening to head back to San Diego Wednesday in a fourth-place tie with the 1987 division champions, are having fun.

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“I wasn’t trying to show anyone up or embarrass anyone,” Moreland said. “I’ve had about 300 at-bats without a home run. It just happened.”

Moreland, who hit the home run off Giant rookie pitcher Trevor Wilson, made his last uninterrupted trip around the bases June 1 at Philadelphia. But he seemed more surprised by the cartwheel than the hit.

“I can’t believe I did it,” he said.

But these things just happen when you start winning.

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Tony Gwynn had never seen a teammate do a cartwheel before and was afraid the Giants might retaliate--which they didn’t--but he likes the effect that winning is having on his ballclub.

“It’s nice to see guys are enthusiastic about doing their job again,” said Gwynn, who singled in two runs in the Padres’ five-run fifth inning. “There’s a lot of excitement.” And Gwynn doesn’t think the Padres have to worry about losing Moreland to the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team later this month.

“He didn’t even get off the ground,” Gwynn said. “If I was a judge, I’d give him a (score of) one. Maybe a half.”

Starting pitcher Eric Show was a little more subtle than Moreland, but he was also celebrating the victory.

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He pitched a six-hit complete game, allowing just one hit through the first five innings.

The win gave Show the most complete games (10) of any Padre pitcher since Gaylord Perry in 1979. It also lifted Show’s personal mark into the winning column for the first time this season, to 12-11. Show’s nine strikeouts were his high for this season.

“My luck has been changing for the good,” said Show, who lost his first three decisions this season. “I was tired of the tag of the unlucky pitcher.”

The Padres gave Show some room to work with Monday. Though the Giants scored four runs in the late innings, San Francisco couldn’t recuperate from the damage the Padres and its own defensive sloppiness inflicted in the fifth inning.

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Show started things off with a single to right and Dickie Thon, who had three hits in the game, followed with another single. After Randy Ready’s sacrifice bunt, Gwynn’s single up the middle scored both runners, and a fourth single by Moreland, who also had three hits, finished Giant starter Wilson, who gave up eight hits and five runs in his major league debut.

Right-hander Lary Sorenson came in and promptly gave up another single to John Kruk, which scored Gwynn. Moreland scored on second baseman Robby Thompson’s error. Kruk capped the inning, scoring on Roberto Alomar’s single to right.

The Giants, whose injured pitching staff is becoming legend, used four pitchers in the game. They gave up 12 hits to the Padres.

In contrast, Show, who has pitched five complete games in his last seven starts, never really struggled. The only dull moment in an otherwise sharp outing came in the sixth inning, when he gave up three runs on three hits.

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Will Clark’s triple, which sent Kruk slamming into the right-field fence, scored Brett Butler and Thompson. Clark, who leads the National League in RBIs, had three in the game, bringing his total to 95.

“I was shocked by how stupid I was (in the sixth inning),” Show said. “That high changeup to Clark was a very predictable pitch.”

Clark scored in the inning on Kevin Mitchell’s single.

The Giants and Padres each added one more run. The Padres’ came in the ninth when Thon doubled and later scored on Carmelo Martinez’s sacrifice fly.

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The game was the Giants’ fourth consecutive loss and the Padres’ fourth consecutive victory.

And it wasn’t hard to see which team was having more fun.

“Success breeds confidence,” Show said. “And fun is the side order.”

Padre Notes

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The last time the Padres were over the .500 mark was July 18, 1986, when they were 46-45. . . . The Padres’ victory put a damper on Labor Day for all Giants’ fans, but was a particular disappointment for Buck Higgins and Julie Anderson. The couple were married Monday in the Candlestick Park football press box before game time and spent their wedding reception watching the Giants lose with 120 of their closest friends and family. . . . Sunday’s rainout in Philadelphia ended the Padres’ meetings with National League East teams. The Padres finished 34-37 outside the division. . . . One player who enjoyed playing against the East was Tony Gwynn. Gwynn hit .365 against the East teams but is hitting .275 thus far against the West. . . . Gwynn’s single in the fifth inning draws him closer to the all-time Padres’ hit record, held by Dave Winfield. Gwynn is now just five hits shy of the mark of 1,134. . . . Giant center fielder Brett Butler’s run in the eighth inning was his 100th of the season. He became the first Giant to scored 100 runs since Bobby Bonds scored 131 in 1973. . . . The Padres’ triple-A team, the Las Vegas Stars, begin playoff action today in Albuquerque. Albuquerque won the Southern Division second half; Las Vegas (33-36) won the first half.


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